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Gang crackdown, lurid mob trials transfix China October 22, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in In The News.
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Over the past 30 years, the economic boom caused by free-market reforms forced the Communist Party to withdraw from many areas it formerly controlled, clearing the way for new gangs to emerge and conspire with officials who held bureaucratic power but were poorly paid.

Gangs started out in traditional rackets — drug trafficking, smuggling luxury cars and extortion — in the 1980s. As China’s economy evolved, they moved on to loan-sharking and evicting tenants from land for real estate development. Tax reform in the mid-1990s sent revenue to Beijing at the expense of local governments, making local officials and police eager to cash in on the money-making opportunities offered by gangs.

The leadership now sees the link between endemic corruption and organized crime — or “black societies” in Chinese — as a threat to its very existence, diminishing the party’s already-low popularity.

via The Associated Press: Gang crackdown, lurid mob trials transfix China.

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